Auto Racing: Tony Stewart willing to advise Danica Patrick on Indy/NASCAR ‘double’
By Tina Akouris firstname.lastname@example.org September 13, 2012 8:58PM
Updated: October 15, 2012 10:06AM
Tony Stewart pulled off perhaps the most difficult feat in auto racing when he drove in both the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 — on the same day.
Stewart, the defending Sprint Cup champion, actually did “the double” twice, in 1999 and 2001. So if Danica Patrick ever asks Stewart for advice on doing both, he’s ready to help.
And despite Patrick’s lackluster NASCAR Nationwide Series season, where her average finish is 21st, Stewart is supportive of Patrick doing “the double.”
“She has not asked me, but I told her if she wants to do it I’m behind her 100 percent,” Stewart said at a personal appearance Thursday in Arlington Heights.
Patrick will race in Saturday’s Dollar General 300 Nationwide series race at Chicagoland Motor Speedway for JR Motorsports. She also will drive in Sunday’s GEICO 400 Cup race, the first race in NASCAR’s 10-race playoff, for Stewart’s Cup team.
Patrick said a few times this season that she wants to do “the double” in 2013, but only if she thinks she has a shot at winning at Indy and if “the situation is right.” Next year, Patrick will run a full-time Cup schedule for Stewart-Haas racing.
Stewart said the worst part
of “the double” is the logistics. Patrick would have to stay at
Indianapolis Motor Speedway for three weeks, practicing and qualifying, and then flying back to Charlotte, N.C., for NASCAR commitments.
Patrick left IndyCar for NASCAR in 2011, but her roots have always been in open-wheel racing. Stewart, a Columbus, Ind., native, also has an open-wheel background and understands the lure of Indy.
“I enjoyed my experience doing it and it’s a lot of work,” Stewart said. “It’s hard when you’re learning a new car and then try to race that, but if she’s going to do it, now is the time. She’s only been out (of IndyCar) for a year. You don’t want to go back in five or 10 years. If she’s going to do it, I recommend it in the next couple of years.”